Oct 19, 2013 View Comments by

Whydoanchagitcha…A couple of years ago, my wife and I rolled up to a small town donut shop for an afternoon coffee break. Before we got the chance to order, the proprietor of the shop asked us what we were riding, and I replied that we were on a Suzuki V-Strom. The next ran-together string of words out of his mouth was…whydoanchagitcha …(fill in the blank).

If I could have somehow summoned an instant six inches of height and an extra fifty pounds, my reply would have been something along the lines of “why don’t you mind your own business.” In reality, my answer was a rambling explanation of the versatility of adventure bikes and the suitability of the V-Strom for the type of riding that I do, to which he didn’t really have much of a response. The particular bike that he was recommending isn’t known for its dirt road prowess, so I guess I got a free pass on that one.

Which brings us to the point of this blog; we ride what we ride because we made a personal choice based on personal reasons. None of us should ever have to explain or defend that decision to anyone. Brand loyalty is great, as long as it doesn’t extend to the point of trying to impose one’s beliefs on other riders and judging them because of what they ride. We’re lucky to have an extensive array of quality motorcycles from numerous manufacturers to choose from, and if I could own one of everything on the market I would. Unfortunately, a small detail known as financial reality prevents that from happening, so I choose bikes that work best for my riding style based on a mix of function, cost, and reliability.

If I’m ever in a situation similar to the one at the donut shop, and I know I will be because it happens fairly regularly, I’ve decided to look the person squarely in the eye and say, “I bought what I wanted just the same as you did.” It shouldn’t have to come to that, but it has. We’re all members of a motorcycling community that includes everything from scooters to trikes made by dozens of manufacturers. Whatever we ride, we deserve each other’s respect.

One last idea to pass along, just for fun: Whatever you’re riding, the next time a car pulls up beside you at a traffic light, politely lean over, tap on the window, and ask the driver, “excuse me, but why aren’t you riding a motorcycle?”

Tags: , , , , Categories: Outside the Lines